Sunday, July 8, 2012

Anuak Angels

Sometimes when I click "Publish" I wonder if I've shared too much on here.  A few of my recent posts have left me feeling kind of raw and exposed.  But then we're lifted up by the kind words of encouragement and prayers of so many, and I know it was the right thing to do.  To share our struggles, frustrations, and fears, and have them eased.

Or something beautiful like this happens.

Remember me writing about Eli being so isolated at our agency's care center because none of the staff or other children speak his language?  Well, a mom from our agency read it and reached out to me.  Her girls are also Anuak and just came home in May.  Although they are learning English quickly (so good to hear!) they still know Anuak.

And they live nearby.  What are the chances of that?  There are about 350,000 Anuak in the entire world (as compared with 2.87 million people who live in metro Denver) and there are two sweet Anuak angels who live here to help Eli when he comes home.

Even better, this mom offered to have her girls put together a list of words in Anuak that will help us speak with Eli when we're back together.  And of course it'll help us teach him English for those words as well.

We are so blessed by the people who have been sent to help us on this journey.

Brad and I have been very anxious about this language challenge, since it won't only be us who can't speak with Eli.  Ethiopians at the hotel and in restaurants--who have been able to help other parents whose children speak Amharic--almost certainly won't speak Anuak.  I've tried to find information on Anuak words and phrases, and it just doesn't seem to exist.  I've asked our agency to see if they could find an Anuak translator in Addis who we could hire to help us during those first few days, but to my knowledge they haven't found one.

But now, thanks to this gracious mom and her beautiful girls, we should be able to fumble our way through a few simple words and phrases with Eli.  Having even minimal language skills will be so helpful connecting with our little guy.

I just hope he's patient with our pronunciation.  :)

So now we just have to figure out what we'll want to be able to say to him, or ask him.  Any suggestions?


  1. For us, the most important words to know were bathroom words. Potty, pee, poop. I knew how to say I love you in Amharic (Zebdi was there long enough to learn Amharic too) and that was about the extent of my Amharic. You'll be amazed at how much you can communicate through pantomime.

  2. Kathleen and Brad, there is certainly nothing more wonderful to the ears than your native language, and I think it is fabulous that you have been so richly blessed, but your true nature speaks volumes without words. You do not have to share a language with your son for him to realize how much love you have for him. It shows in your actions, your eyes, and just the feeling you both give to those around you. He will appreciate the words, no doubt, but he will FEEL the love at a depth that no language can begin to reach.

  3. This story is amazing. You will be a great mom.